University of Calgary

Ambitious student tackles big themes with small newspaper for Schulich School of Engineering

UToday HomeMay 27, 2013

Stuart MacDonald is the publisher of the Technocrat, a paper that aims to help engineering students broaden their perspectives.Stuart MacDonald is the publisher of the Technocrat, a paper that aims to help engineering students broaden their perspectives. Photo by Kent ElsnerCivil engineering student Stuart MacDonald has an undergraduate degree in mathematics, a master’s degree in philosophy, and a well-stamped passport. Now he’s adding “publisher” to his list of accomplishments.

MacDonald puts out a newspaper called The Technocratand so far, he’s published two editions, doing all the writing and editing himself. “I distributed it amongst each of the engineering departments and I threw some random ones around the engineering buildings for people to pick up.”

As a student of philosophy, MacDonald has a keen critical eye, something he wanted to bring into the engineering school. “Philosophy requires a lot of critical thinking and a lot of looking at things in a much more abstract or different way,” he says. “I really value that and I try to be aware of things, and try to build my own understanding of the world instead of having it forced upon me.”

He hopes the paper will help engineering students broaden their perspectives on their role in the world. “I wanted to bring in something that would avail people of the larger social and political context of engineering,” he says. “And try to make them think past engineering as merely a means to a career or a job.”

MacDonald spent a year and a half based in South Africa and traveling extensively. He saw widespread poverty while traveling around Africa and India — especially when visiting slums — an experience that contributed to his decision to study civil engineering.

“If I do civil engineering, then it’s a means to be able to work anywhere in the world, it’s a means to make a decent amount of money, and for the most part, it’s the means to improve the quality of life of many people if I focus on working in the developing world.”

The paper has received positive feedback as well support from the Engineering Students' Society to cover the printing costs. MacDonald is hoping to recruit more writers and editors to help with the paper “so that it can be a newspaper that properly reflects the opinions and interests of the Schulich student body.”

The next issue of the Technocrat will come out in the fall.


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